game, game. repeat.

The Haskell Programming Book Isn't Good Enough

Sat 15 October 2016 #leadership

We (the human race) spend/waste an enormous amount of energy writing code that won’t last. We constantly cut ourselves on the sharp edges of C, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Java, and lots of other languages that were the best and brightest of their day, but they don’t go far enough protecting us from our own stupidity, laziness, distractedness, busyness…

Point is, I’m looking for a way out of this mess. And as someone in management, I’m responsible for either doing nothing or making intentional choices about what tools galaxy my team lives in and how we go about our work of creating business value through software.

And I really like Haskell. I see the future in it or something like it. But man, I’m having a hard time getting my brain around it. I’ve read a bunch of books. I’ve written some code. But with 20 years of imperitive thinking pounded into my brain, its tough to load all these new abstractions into my brain at the same time and apply them effectively in real life. And that worries me. Because smart Haskell advocates like Gabriel Gonzalez say Haskell has finally got some good docs as of The Haskell Programming Book but having worked through 3/4 of it, I still struggle to do what I want with Haskell-based shell scripts or a Haskell-based port of my (statically generated) blog. And while I like to think I hire and work with people smarter than me, as long as the learning curve is this high, Haskell is going to struggle to get beyond the handful of niches its into today.

I hope the Haskell book is just the start. I have blind faith that there’s a way to teach its concepts in a way that’s even more accessible to more people. And I hope someone does it, because we’ve all put enough blood and sweat into software that won’t last as it is.